Democracy Desperately Need a Reboot

If you’re a supporter of Donald Trump — or Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil or Matteo Salvini in Italy — you probably think that democracy has never been in better health. Recent elections in these countries didn’t just serve to rotate the elite from the conventional parties. Voters went to the polls and elected outsiders who promised to transform their political systems. That demonstrates that...
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The Dictator and the Nihilist

Two major public figures lost their protected status last week. British authorities dragged Julian Assange, the co-founder of Wikileaks, out of the Ecuadorian consulate and into custody. Meanwhile, months of public protests finally dislodged Omar al-Bashir, the long-serving authoritarian leader of Sudan. On the face of it, Assange and Bashir couldn’t be more different. Bashir presided over a...
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World Gives America One Year to Stop Trump or Face Sanctions

The deputy assistant under secretary general of the United Nations has given the United States a one-year warning. If the country doesn’t clean up its act and become a responsible world citizen, Ithell Colhoquon announced yesterday, the international community will impose sanctions on U.S. government officials and tariffs on U.S. goods and services. This announcement comes shortly after U.S....
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Trump’s Only Electoral Strategy Was Racism

In the week before the mid-term elections, Donald Trump returned to his bread-and-butter issue: immigration. He knows that the only thing that will turn out his base, and possibly swing some independents over to his side, is fear. Economic indicators are in reasonably good shape (for now). Hillary Clinton is nowhere near power (for now). He can’t use the threat of North Korea’s nuclear...
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#MeToo Goes Global

The famous tenor Enrico Caruso went on trial in 1906 for an incident at the monkey house in Central Park. He was accused of the indecent assault of 30-year-old Hannah Graham. Caruso in turn accused one of the monkeys of pinching the victim’s rear end. Other accusations of sexual harassment emerged at the trial. The newspapers called the singer “an Italian pervert.” He was found guilty and...
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The Best of All Possible Worlds?

Candide is the first and most amusing example of the powerlessness of positive thinking. In this 18th century novel by Voltaire, the naïf Candide suffers one misfortunate after another – kidnapping, torture, earthquake. Still he adheres to the philosophy of his mentor, Dr. Pangloss, who insists that all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds. Never has there been such a mismatch...
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